The Double Gameweeks are here.
But it hasn’t been a smooth ride. Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers have had so many unexpected detours (a lot of off-roading) on the way, but battered, bruised and with a lot of dents, we’re finally here.
Just know that you are not the only ones facing these twists and turns. It won’t be the last time unexpected rescheduling happens either.
FPL managers all over the globe have been meandering their way through these unexpected times and you’ve just got to enjoy the ride and adapt. It’s the only option you have really.
So what do I intend to do differently? First off, stop planning. Be more short-sighted. Normally, when making moves, I look at the next five to six Gameweeks.
Instead, I am going to play for the points available and have a more short-term approach when planning my moves.
This means I’ll likely look at the next three Gameweeks when making my moves and no more than that.
Why? We could literally have unexpected cancellations and changes (Double Gameweeks) at any time. So planning mid-term doesn’t have much value in my opinion.
Secondly, and I have said this multiple times this season, I’m all for wanting to chase price rises, but honestly, I can’t say it enough, this is the season to delay your transfers as far as possible.
The fantasy landscape is changing daily and new bits of information are appearing on a daily basis, which might drastically affect your transfer strategy.
You might think that your transfers might not be affordable the next day, but when you look closer, there is always another way.
Has the recent Double Gameweek news for Aston Villa and Newcastle and the lack of a double for Leeds United and Southampton changed my plans?
I currently own only Patrick Bamford (£6.6m) from the two teams and before Blank Gameweek 18, I sold Jack Grealish (£7.7m) and Che Adams (£6.0m).
I had heard murmurs of the Leeds vs Southampton game being called off and I just don’t trust the fitness of Villa’s players and the lure of two premium Manchester big hitters was too much for me.
It was a gamble and it won’t be the last time I’ll need to roll the dice this season.
It just seems like a season of difficult decisions given the sheer number of consistent big hitters but it is what it is.
Just a small note on Aston Villa, the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak is unknown at the time of writing and we don’t necessarily know how the squad has been affected.
It is a very thin squad that is very reliant on 10 to 14 players and if the majority of the first team squad is affected, I don’t know how much I’d trust them.
Keeping this in mind, their players come into the don’t buy/ don’t sell category for me until we know more about them.
Speaking of difficult decisions, one big decision that FPL managers will likely be making this season is whether to sell Son Heung-min (£9.8m) or Harry Kane (£11.1m) for a premium Double Gameweek asset in Gameweek 19.
The one thing I’ll say is if you’re doing it to get in a premium big hitter like Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) or Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) who are genuine captaincy options, then it makes sense to me.
If not, it becomes a very difficult decision (one that might not necessarily be the right one) given their fixture in Gameweek 19.
Then it comes down to gut and the kind of FPL manager you are.
If I was to hold one of Son or Kane, at the moment I’d lean towards holding Son primarily because of the price difference.
I see a lot of people selling their Arsenal and Leeds United assets for Double Gameweek players.
It is important to not have the blinkers on for the doubles because both of these teams in addition to Spurs have very good games in Gameweek 19 and it might not be the smartest thing to sell them just to buy additional minutes in the Double Gameweek.
You need to look at the next couple of Gameweeks while making these decisions and then make the call.
A few things I have noticed in the last few weeks is that players like Son, Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) and KDB have looked very tired in the last 30 minutes of games and I feel like in comparison, Liverpool and Chelsea both having some time off will play into their hands.
I’m personally expecting an upturn in performances for both of these teams in the coming weeks.
Having some time on the training ground with the full team without playing games can be underestimated and I think that will show.
It is worth noting Chelsea have all their players fit now including their full-backs and it’s easy to forget that when they, along with Hakim Ziyech (£8.1m) were fit, Chelsea were creating chances for fun.
They have a decent looking Double Gameweek (both Leicester and Fulham are in the worst five teams for big chances conceded at home this season) and I quite like their fixtures in the mid-term as well.
There are some good picks in that team both in attack and in defence should you fancy it.
Some of you are wondering about whether you should Bench Boost or not.
In my opinion if you have players from the likes of Leeds who have a good Gameweek 19 fixture, I’d still use the chip and play the Bench Boost.
The case for you to Bench Boost is even stronger, especially if you have used your Free Hit chip in Gameweek 18.
I say that is the case because if you wildcard in Gameweek 25 for the Double Gameweek in 26, your bench spots will need to be likely focused on Blank Gameweek 29 and that is something to consider while you’re making your decision.
Otherwise, one of the prime advantages of having used the Bench Boost chip is so that it’s out of the way and you can focus funds on your starting 11 (plus two bench spots) rather than spreading them over 15 players.
It is very difficult to give an answer with regards to this conundrum because it is very team dependant but generally when it comes to using your chips, there will be many more mini Double Gameweeks in play the way the season is going, so there are going to be more opportunities than you think for chip deployment.
I intentionally decide to just talk a little bit of macro-philosophy with this article ahead of the Double Gameweek but all of you are aware of the numbers and the good picks so I thought it might be worthwhile to outline a few things that might not have caught your attention.
I’ve been making steady progress with my season after a terrible start.
Despite having games called off for my Manchester City and Spurs assets and despite not deploying my Free Hit chip in Gameweek 18, I’ve climbed from a 3.1 million Overall Rank (OR) in Gameweek 12 to a 1.54 million OR at present.
I was very happy to get a 300,000 sized green arrow in Gameweek 18 despite taking a hit, owning nine players and not deploying the Free Hit chip which tells you that quality matters over quantity.
If the odds are stacked against you in a particular Gameweek in terms of numbers of players, it still isn’t the end of the world because if you have the right players, you could still climb up the table.
Also, it is worth mentioning that Zophar & I had the pleasure of interviewing the creator of LiveFPL.net recently and it was a pleasure getting to chat with Ragabolly.
He’s a PHD in quantum physics and still claims to not be a genius.
He’s a very humble guy and it’s an interview worth watching if you haven’t already. You can see it here.
We also did our standard podcast of The FPL Wire where we talk about Double Gameweek 19 in depth which you will find below. Thanks for reading and good luck this Gameweek!